REAL MADRID

The worst Real Madrid in two decades

The worst Real Madrid in two decades

JESUS ALVAREZ ORIHUELA

With 10 losses, Real Madrid have not suffered so many defeats at this point in the season since 1998-99.

Real Madrid may have gone through on aggregate on Wednesday night, but the defeat to Leganés in the Copa del Rey brings their total losses to 10 in all competitions so far this season.

You would have to go back exactly 20 years to the 1998-99 campaign to find the last time Madrid had lost 10 games at this point of the season. And they have already lost more games than Zidane lost (nine) in the whole of last year’s campaign.

“We are not in a good place, let's be honest,” Brazilian defender Casemiro confessed after the game at Leganés’ Butarque stadium on the outskirts of Madrid, where Los Blancos had not lost in six visits prior to Wednesday night.

And the negative statistics continue to accumulate: Madrid have managed to score in just 62 percent of games this season. And in LaLiga they haven’t scored fewer goals in 25 years.

The year 2019 has not started well for a team that was already on the wire. In the five official games of 2019, Madrid have only managed two wins: the last gap 2-1 victory at Betis (thanks to an 88th-minute Dani Ceballos goal); and the 3-0 victory over Leganés in the first round of the Copa del Rey tie, a result which secured Santiago Solari’s side's place in the last eight, despite Wednesday night’s defeat at the Butarque.

The goodwill that Santiago Solari has enjoyed since he took over from Julen Lopetegui at the end of October is beginning to fade.

"The result of the first leg makes you more relaxed in your head. Confidence was our sin," Nacho acknowledged after Thursday’s defeat. Solari also did not make much of the defeat (“It was a loose match”), but the fact is that the goodwill the Argentine coach has enjoyed since he took over from Julen Lopetegui at the end of October is beginning to fade. Of the ten defeats this season, four have happened on Solari’s watch.

An uphill battle for Madrid lies ahead

Madrid will hope to get back to winning ways when the legion of injured (Bale, Asensio, Kroos, Courtois, Marcos Llorente, and Mariano) return, particularly with the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Ajax around the corner on February 13.

Before then, Los Blancos will play two games against two teams that are currently above them on the table, Sevilla (January 19) and Atlético in the Wanda (February 10), as well as Espanyol (January 27) and the buoyant Alavés (February 3) – an undoubtedly daunting task for this poor Madrid team.